Admittedly, when I was younger, I gave the “I’m just not very political” line often. I did not get into political fights, I did not read into much about U.S. history and politics, and I did not have a want or feeling of need to do so. I’ve grown older and that has changed. I recognize my privilege now when I did not before. Just the fact that I had the luxury to sit back and not have any political argument or concern affect me was my privilege shining through.
Today, I am a moderate liberal, I read the news and take in everything I can on both sides of party lines in an effort to stay informed and learn how I can help make change when necessary. I do not believe myself to be truly one party over the other. There are some things I lean more conservatively towards but for the most part I’m very open-minded progressive.
I am a Feminist, I fight daily and believe the fight for equal rights for women is necessary. I see and know that the fight cannot just end there. Equality is not just a sex or gender issue; it is a race issue as well. All people are equal and should be treated as such.
But still, in 2020, we are not equal because of systematic racism. How do we fix this, how do we keep moving towards change? How am I, a white mother of three small children able to help? I teach them better. I raise children that don’t judge by color, are open minded and progressive.
In an effort to do so, here is what I do and will be doing to be a powerful ally by raising the next generation to do better.
Everyone is Equal
I will be teaching my children that it does not matter a person’s color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability, everyone is equal and should be treated as such.
You are Privileged
My children are white, we are relatively middle-class, we do not struggle like many others do. I have worries but whether or not I will have food on my table is not one of them. Whether or not I will go out, be pulled over and be shot, is not one of them. I will teach my children that they are privileged, they should recognize it and utilize it to help others. That means helping those in need. That includes speaking up when they see an injustice and that means constantly learning and striving to be better to help others.
I will teach them restorative justice.
It is important to be committed to building a loving and strong community. That means helping others rebuild if they’ve been broken down, especially if you had a hand in it.
I will teach them empathy.
The ability to understand and connect with others, their experiences, their feelings, and their concerns is absolutely necessary in order to raise children who will be fighting for others equality. Empathy is also necessary for them to become adults who understand how their own actions impact others.
I will teach them the great value in diversity.
Diversity is the differences in racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, geographic, and academic/professional backgrounds. People with different opinions, backgrounds (degrees and social experience), religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientations, heritage and life experience. Understanding the value of diversity is key to open mindedness and truly believing in equality. Every person has a different life, different experiences, and different views. Having a respect for those differences helps us learn, grow, and become better people by listening to others.
Here are some great books to teach kids about race, equality, and racism. *affiliate links below*
All Are Welcome, Written by Alexandra Penfold and Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
A is for Activist, Written and Illustrated by Innosanto Nagara
Counting on Community, Written and Illustrated by Innosanto Nagara
Lovely, Written and Illustrated by Jess Hong
Enough! 20 Protestors Who Changed America, Written by Emily Easton and Illustrated by Ziyue Chen
Same, Same but Different, Written and Illustrated by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and her Family’s Fight for Desegregation, Written and Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh
Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn
My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A Cabrera
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin